NFL Edging Towards Claiming A Trademark On 'The Big Game' Again

from the yup,-again dept

We all know that the NFL doesn’t want anyone to use the term “Super Bowl” without having paid the NFL first (and paid lots and lots of money). As we’ve pointed out in the past, most of this is pure bullshit. In most cases, people and companies totally can use the term “Super Bowl” but few people want to deal with any sort of legal fight, so they just don’t.

What’s even crazier though is how the NFL has tried to crack down on euphemisms as well. The most popular term that companies use instead of the Super Bowl is “The Big Game.” And going back to 2007, we noted that the NFL wanted to trademark that too, even though it’s not the one who came up with the term, nor does it really use it. A bunch of companies opposed the NFL’s attempt, but over at the Pirated Thoughts blog, Michael Lee notes that the NFL is doing a few things that suggest it may want to trademark “The Big Game” again. At the very least, it’s trying to block anyone else from trademarking it:

In late 2014, an individual in California filed a trademark registration for the BIG GAME DAME mark to cover athletic gear such as shirts, pants and jackets. The applicant claims that the mark is already in use and filed the ?in use? specimen that can be seen below. The specimen is nothing more than a ratty plain white t-shirt that someone stuck a homemade label on from their old Brother P-Touch. Alright, this all seems a bit shady but we will put the skepticism to the side.

More germane than the earnestness of this trademark application, in December 2015 the mark was published for opposition. On January 26th, the NFL requested and was granted an extension of time to oppose issuance of the trademark. This is the usual first step that allows the parties time to try to work out a settlement, allows the opposer additional time to draft the opposition or even allows the opposer time to reevaluate its position and not even file an opposition in the first place.

This potential opposition is not an isolated incident. On the same day, the NFL was also granted an extension of time to oppose an entirely different mark by another clothing company, BIG GAME DAY ARE YOU READY! A month earlier, the NFL also requested an extension of time to oppose this same clothing company?s BIG GAME mark. Three potential trademark oppositions over the use of BIG GAME in a month?s time, where there is smoke there could be some fire.

In other words, the NFL is at least suggesting that it may have a right to “The Big Game” as well. It’s not clear if the NFL thinks there will be less opposition this time, or that people won’t notice. Or maybe it just doesn’t care (which seems to be the standard operating procedure of the NFL these days). But, once again, such a move would be crazy. And, of course, it wouldn’t even be necessary if the NFL hadn’t been such a trademark extremist in the first place.

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Companies: nfl

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Comments on “NFL Edging Towards Claiming A Trademark On 'The Big Game' Again”

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Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Some people have all the [copy]rights... isn’t scared about saying Super Bowl. They say it a few times in fact.

NASA isn’t scared about taking a live video feed and streaming it to make a public performance in outer space.

What a great world we live in when the NFL says we can’t say the SB word and we can’t have a party with our friends to view it and we can’t re-stream it…

But those who have the means have the ways.


Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

The problem is not the NFL...

…or MLB or NHL or NCAA or the MPAA … or anyone seeking to make financial windfalls by either providing under license or locking up and preventing others from accessing i̶m̶a̶g̶i̶n̶a̶r̶y̶ intellectual property.

The problem is our archaic laws and the nouveau judicial and lobbyist-fueled interpretation that seeks to support these lockdowns.

The title of this piece is telling. It’s about trademarks. The NFL has not used “The Big Game” in commerce, and others have, predating their use. Each of those two criteria alone would -normally- doom a trademark application. Together it would guarantee no such trademark be granted. But… the NFL is a special beast.

Taxes? The NFL is special.
Having its staff have an unheard-of number of injuries and concussions and brain damage and no inquiries, no congressional committees, no OSHA paperwork? The NFL is special.

Why should getting a trademark on something others have used and they never have be different?

The problem isn’t really the NFL. It’s the corrupt system that supports this and other abuses by other well-heeled parties.


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